MyShoes: An immersive simulation of dementia

S. Ball, P. Bluteau, D.L. Clouder, A. Adefila, S. Graham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents preliminary findings from an immersive simulation of dementia. The myShoes project aims to promote health care professionals' affective empathy for people with dementia through exposure to an embodied experience. Simulation provides a safe and feasible means of exposing students to defined situations. However, immersive technologies go a step further by providing an embodied experience through which students can feel what it is like to be on the receiving end of care; in the patient's shoes. Simulated activities can trigger emotions, such as confusion and frustration caused by the inability to complete simple tasks, process sensory information or do certain tasks repeatedly. Coupling age related visual and auditory overlay filters with misdirection, misperception, object switching and sleight of hand, along with other techniques, can offer an experience not easily accomplished through standard role play. The project involved the development, testing and piloting of a prototype simulation using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Three learning technologists worked closely with a specialist team consisting of a dementia care expert, a clinical psychologist, a mental health nurse, a physiotherapist and an educational researcher to develop an authentic experience using popular game development tools, including Unity, Blender and 3D assets. The 'think aloud technique' was used to gain feedback from a multi-professional cohort of student health and social care professionals during the user testing and pilot phases of the project. Pre and post-simulation questionnaires were administered to establish personality/emotional resilience and responses to the activities. Findings suggest that the project has been successful in simulating a range of aspects of dementia with which students can identify and its applicability in and beyond pre-registration training is being explored.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
ISBN (Print)978-191081025-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventICEL 2015 - Nassau, Bahamas
Duration: 25 Jun 201526 Jun 2015


ConferenceICEL 2015

Bibliographical note

This paper was given at the 10th International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2015; College of the BahamasNassau; Bahamas; 25 June 2015 through 26 June 2015


  • Dementia
  • Embodiment
  • Experiential learning
  • Oculus Rift
  • Simulation
  • Virtual reality


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